The exhibition stand is changing. In the past, exhibitors used heavy materials to set up an exhibition booth that was cumbersome to build and to move. Today, the focus on the use of lightweight materials, and in particular fabric, means that the exhibition stand is lightweight and less expensive.
Current trends in the exhibition stand design worldwide include an increased use of various materials such as fabric, an emphasis on lighting, creating a “box” design, building organic shapes, and using bold colours.
Fabric is the material most used in exhibit stands in current trends. Because fabric is light weight, and can be moulded to create eye catching shapes, it is the material of choice for the modern exhibitor. Fabric can be used as an accent or to construct an entire booth. The latest trend with fabric is the use of translucent fabric to display full wall graphics. Fabric can define the space as the part of the branding for the exhibition stand, while maintaining the open, airy feeling of space, so that attendees do not feel enclosed within the exhibit.
Wood is the next most common material to use, with metal the preferred finish for some industries, particularly health care, kitchen, bath, and the retail industries. Metal is difficult to damage and is therefore cost effective for use in long-term exhibits or exhibition stands that will be transported across the country to show in the various capital cities.
Ten years ago, many exhibitors simply used the available lighting within the exhibition centre. Now, it is virtually impossible to spot an exhibition stand that does not include separate lighting to accentuate or highlight products. Exhibition lighting has become an integral part of excellent stand design.
From halogens to gobos, from wash lights to spot lights, you can use lights in your exhibition stand design to create a mood, highlight particular products, and to create special effects that attract attention to your exhibition. Use lights to set your booth apart from the competition.
Exhibitor Magazine has annual design awards and at least 75 per cent of the winners this year have used a “box design”. Although the box can be rectangular, oval, round, or whatever shape you like, the box itself is an exhibit that contains and delineates the space itself. Rather than use a traditional exhibition booth, and simply build the exhibit into the space remaining from the walls of the booth, the box design allows an exhibit to use the entire space allocated to the stand and to define the space without the use of booth walls. If your branding uses an oval shape, create an oval shaped exhibition stand within the space allocated, instead of using the traditional rectangle booth.
The use of new shapes is a trend that stems from the use of computer generated designs in exhibition stands. Curves, tombstone shapes, wave shapes, and other complex shapes are being used to add interest and movement to exhibition stands.
Graphics are also using shapes as part of the design. Graphics are now focusing on a single message and are becoming a large part of the exhibition stand. The latest worldwide trend in graphics is to take advantage of the new printing processes and turn walls into a full graphic that attracts attention. Designers are using shapes, such as ovals, to show the difference between the graphic and the wall.
Colours are definitely one of the trends that continually changes within the exhibition industry. One year aqua is all the rage and the next magenta red is the accent colour of choice. Using trendy colours can lead to additional expense when you have to change the colour scheme to meet the latest trend, or your stand will be seen as out of date. The latest colour trend is to mix conservative colours, such as black, gray, and tan, with vibrant colour accents. However, some exhibitors have experienced success by using aggressive colours for the entire stand, such as yellow, green, or orange. Using colour in lighting is also a popular trend.
The main trends in exhibition stand design are the use of fabric, lights, shapes, and colours to define the space in new and different ways that attract attention. If you want to have a trendy exhibition stand, pay attention to the design of the shape of your exhibition stand, and think outside the traditional “booth” approach.